Teachers and school leaders

Profiles and qualifications

In 2013/14, there were 17 907 teachers working in basic education and a total of 3 002 school leaders - headmasters and vice-headmasters - in basic education and secondary education schools. Latvia has relatively few teacher shortages: PisA 2012 reported only 3% of students were in schools where instruction was hindered by a lack of qualified mathematics teachers, compared with 17% on average across oECD countries. For science and literacy the figures were 6% and 5% respectively, also smaller than the oECD averages of 17% and 9% (oECD, 2013a).

latvia has an experienced but ageing teaching workforce. with 22 years of working experience on average, TALIs 2013 found latvian lower secondary teachers were the most experienced and had worked in a single school the longest (16 years on average) of all the participating countries (oECD, 2014c). similarly, TALIs found latvian school principals were the most experienced, with 13 years of experience on average; 69% of them were more than 50 years old (oECD, 2014c).

latvia also has very low proportions of young teachers. only 8% of teachers in primary education and 6% in lower secondary education were less than 30 years old in 2012, compared to the oECD averages of 13% and 11% respectively. more than one-third of primary teachers (35%) and 42% of lower secondary teachers were 50 years or older, while the oECD averages were 31% and 34% respectively (Eurostat, 2014; oECD, 2014a). Despite this ageing workforce, the pressure to recruit new teachers will be diminished as a result of the demographic decline among students.

Teaching is also a highly feminised profession. only 6.5% of latvian teachers in primary education and 16% in lower secondary were men in 2012, which is lower than the oECD average of 18% and 33% respectively (oECD, 2014a).

Teacher qualifications in latvia are comparable to those of oECD countries as teachers at all levels are required to have a tertiary degree to be able to teach. Qualifications have improved in recent years. PisA 2012 however showed that across latvia the average 15-year-old student was in a school where 81% of teachers were certified, compared with an oECD average of 87%. This suggests that a considerable proportion of lower secondary teachers do not have the required qualifications to teach. The review team however was informed that many secondary education teachers have recently taken up professional development courses to provide them with a second specialisation.

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